Your Startup's Culture: Why You Should Be Building It TODAY

Think it's too early to start thinking about your startup's culture? Think again. Building even the most basic cultural foundation is crucial for defining who you are-- here's why. 

“I’m a startup with three people, why the $#@! should I care about building my culture NOW?

 If you’re an early-stage startup, you’re probably thinking I’m loony for even SUGGESTING that now is the time to start thinking about refining your culture. BUT even with a miniscule number of teammates, having the most basic foundation is important for defining who you are, what you do, and why you’re legit.

Startup culture 1

“Culture” can mean loads of things, but today, I’m talking about the activities, norms, and attitudes that reflect your overarching goals, values, and beliefs. Unique to each and every company, how you create it --and how you foster it--- will be a big determinant of your startup’s longevity.

SO, if I haven’t sold you on this yet, here are a few more reasons why you should give a $#!&… even this early into the game:

1.  A solid startup culture turns your “talk” into action—sure, it’s easy to SAY that we believe in collaboration, forward-thinking, fun, etc . But when you’re all talk and no walk, the level of commitment to your organizational goals, or –eep-- your startup--comes into question. Creating an environment that fosters these values—whether it’s via Friday beers, Nerf wars, Tuesday lunches, etc-- is how to show people that you’re not just talking out of your you-know-what when you say you believe in what you do.

2. Culture helps you hire (and keep!) the right people— Your cultural beliefs and practices are a surefire way to help determine who you want working for you, and how well they’d gel with your overarching vision.  Even better, this is a two-way street—how you present yourself is one of the best ways for applicants to determine whether they’d be a good fit for the team.

3. Culture gives you a competitive “edge”— Do you want to be known as the only company that facilitates collaboration by playing musical chairs on Wednesdays? Do you have a strict “no assholes” rule when hiring? A company's brand is more than just a logo. Your startup culture plays a big role in making you identifiable and unique, so that in a space where you’re competing with a million other startups, yours is the one which stands out.


What do you think? Do you think it’s ever too early to start thinking about crafting your culture?



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This is a post by Jackie Murchison. Jackie is Community Coordinator at Launch Academy. Follow her on Twitter @JackieMurchison